FTSE in the red despite afternoon rally

The FTSE 100 closed in the red despite an afternoon rally on Friday after US markets opened.

The index closed down 8.32 points to 7,439.74, a fall of 0.1%.

After trading as low as 7,420 points earlier in the day, the FTSE managed to claw back most of its losses, and even briefly entered positive territory after US markets opened in the afternoon.

Many eyes were on the opposite side of the Atlantic. The US announced a stronger-than-expected payrolls report, showing that the economy added 528,000 jobs last month.

It pushed unemployment to the lowest in about half a century.

Markets initially reacted by pushing lower, as the figures were seen as raising the prospect of another large hike to the Federal Reserve’s interest rates.

“This weakness proved to be relatively short lived and has done little to prevent the FTSE100 … from recovering off (its) intraday lows,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“It also keeps (it) on course to finish higher for the third week in succession, as investors took the view that this was still good news, despite the risk that we could see a much greater risk of higher rates.”

Dax, the main German index, closed down 0.7%, while France’s Cac dropped by 0.6%.

On Wall Street the S&P 500 dipped 0.8%, while the Dow Jones dropped 0.4%.

On currency markets, the pound rose 0.02% to 1.2064 dollars and fell 0.04% to 1.186 euros.

In company news, the London Stock Exchange saw its shares rise 1.4% after the business announced that its pre-tax profit had risen 73% to £803 million in the first half of the year.

The business announced a share buyback worth £750 million and upped its dividend to 31.7p.

The business said it was on track to make the planned savings it wants to gain from the £20 billion takeover of market data company Refinitiv.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Hargreaves Lansdown, up 42p to 885.8p, Antofagasta, up 40.5p to 1,170.5p, Airtel Africa, up 3.9p to 153p, Vodafone Group, up 2.8p to 121.44p, and BT Group, up 3.35p to 159.55p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were WPP, down 78.2p to 814.6p, Ocado Group, down 59.4p to 880.6p, Dechra Pharmaceuticals, down 206p to 3,578p, Spirax-Sarco, down 500p to 11,430p, and Next, down 270p to 6,444p.